Room to Grow: Designing Kid-Friendly Spaces

The most important thing to consider when planning a child’s room is to create a comfortable environment that gives the child confidence and a sense of individuality, says interior designer Leanne Croft.

If you choose to hire a professional designer, be sure to have the designer talk with your child to get his or her input. If you’re the creative force, be sure to consider your child’s interests and hobbies. The more a child’s bedroom or playroom reflects his or her taste, the more he’ll enjoy spending time in it and take pride in caring for it. 

Designing Your Baby’s Room


When decorating a baby’s room, remember that infancy is short-term. Ducks and bunnies wear thin faster than you might think.

Croft suggests personalizing babies’ rooms with little touches, such as a mobile or even wallpaper border made of black and white photos of family members. "When a child is as young as 4 months old, the mom can hold that baby up and say, ‘There’s Grandma!’" she says. "Sometimes that’s better than looking at a cow or a pig."

Older Children’s Rooms


Use your child’s personality and interests as inspiration for a decorating theme. But don’t go too overboard on the theme. Inevitably, children grow and change, and you want the room to grow with the child.

Accommodate your child’s temporary or trendy interests with accessories, bed coverings or framed posters.


When a Pokemon poster may loses its luster in your child’s eyes, the frame can be used for his next interest, and the sheets and comforter will be available for sleepovers.

Choose furniture that suits your child’s size.

Consider what you want and where you want to put it. Select pieces that are sturdy, but easily accessible, such as a solid dresser with drawers that little hands can pull. Also look for pieces that will still be appropriate as your child grows, or that can be incorporated into other rooms. Involve your child on this effort, too. Ask her where she’d like to study, sleep, play and read. Then sketch the plan or rearrange the furniture. Be mindful of window sill height and other details. 

Look for opportunities to create cozy places for youngsters to cuddle up in, like a roomy closet or corner enclosed by a standing screen. Kids will love having their own space.


Comfortable floors are also crucial to a child’s room, so wall-to-wall carpeting or a large rug is important.

Considering Colors

Choose colors carefully. Use color chips or large pieces of colored paper to help your child decide which colors he likes best. Remember, your child’s initial choice may not be what he can really live with.

Bright colors can be over-stimulating and may 
be better used as accents rather than the dominant color. Neutral colors work well with an array of schemes and accessories.

Preferences for certain tones vary with age. With young children, the brighter and bolder, the better; but as children head into pre-adolescence their tastes become a bit more subdued.

Consider using a wall mural to add character to a child’s room, or to make a small room feel larger. Painting animated toys, Beatrix Potter characters or a scene that reflects an older child’s interests not only decorates a room, but adds personality and life. Unless you’re a fine artist yourself, you can hire a mural painter for anywhere from about $300 to $3,000, depending on the size and complexity. Usually, the artists sketches the mural in pencil first, then paints the design in watercolors.